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In general there are three types of installation methods, that can be used to install your hardwood flooring: Secret Nailing, Gluing Down to the sub-floor and installation as a Floated Floor.

Secret Nailing

Nailing down a floor board requires that there are wooden joists or wooden sub-floor, to nail the boards into. The ‘secret’ part of this method is that the nails are hidden from above because they are driven through the tongue that runs down the side of the flooring board. The tongue is then slotted into the groove on the adjacent board, hiding the nails from view.
For this method you need flooring boards of at least 18mm thick. This method is popular for installing solid and some engineered hardwood floors. It is easy, fast and clean to install a hardwood flooring using this method.

Gluing Down

Wood flooring can also be installed utilizing the glue-down method. This is an especially popular method for solid parquet flooring installations on concrete sub-floors. Additionally, engineered wood flooring may use the glue-down method as well. A layer of adhesive is placed onto the sub-floor using a trowel similar to those used in laying ceramic tile. The wood pieces are then laid on top of the glue and hammered into place using a rubber mallet and a protected 2x4 to create a level floor. Often the parquet floor or wood flooring panels will require sanding and re-finishing after the glue-down installation method due to the small size pieces.
Your sub-floor needs to be completely level before you start. You may need to add a layer of screed to the existing floor to get this right. And very importantly you need to use the glue that is recommended for the specific flooring type. The glue is spread onto the floor with a grooved trowel and the boards are then laid on top of this, fitted together by the tongue and grooves.
Gluing down a floor is not recommended if your sub-floor is in bad condition. It is probably also the method that requires the most professional experience. You may also need to lay Damp Proofing Membrane over the concrete or screed before you are able to lay the floor.
When gluing down a floor onto concrete the slab needs to be as dry as possible. As a general rule, you will not be able to lay a wooden floor on top of a concrete slab floor for at least six weeks, although this is likely to be longer.

Floating Floor

A floating floor will be basically a hardwood floor that is installed by gluing the floor planks together as an alternative to gluing or stapling them to the sub-floor itself. Since a floating floor doesn't need a unique kind of sub-floor to install to, it frees you up to install wood flooring in areas where they previously weren't a possibility. You are able to install them over vinyl or ceramic flooring, or in areas of high humidity where traditional hardwood floors have a tendency to warp and crack. If you’re looking for the great look of hardwood floors without the installation challenges and limitations, then a floating hardwood floor will be everything that you've been searching for.
A floating wood floor installation method is usually recommended when you installing an engineered hardwood floor boards. These planks are designed in tongue and groove style and are usually glued together as you put them to use over the layer of foam underlay. If that sounds too challenging to suit your needs, new kinds of floating wood floor are actually being manufactured that happen to be “glue less,” which enable it to be clicked together upon installation. Floating hardwood floor combines the simple installation of laminate flooring using the classic looks of hardwood flooring.

The installation method that needs to be used, depends mainly of two things - installation system of the material that you have chose and type of the sub-floor that you have in your property.

Installation systems!

Wood can be manufactured with a variety of different installation systems:

Tongue-and-groove: One side and one end of the plank have a groove, the other side and end have a tongue (protruding wood along an edge's center). The tongue and groove fit snugly together, thus joining or aligning the planks, and are not visible once joined. Tongue-and-groove flooring can be installed by glue-down (both engineered and solid), floating (engineered only), or nail-down (not recommended for some thinner engineered hardwood flooring).

"Click" systems: there are a number of patented "click" systems that now exist. These click systems are either "unilin" or "fiboloc" A "click" floor is similar to tongue-and-groove, but instead of fitting directly into the groove, the board must be angled or "tapped" in to make the curved or barbed tongue fit into the modified groove. No adhesive is used when installing a "click" floor, making board replacement easier. This system not only exists for engineered wood floors but also solid bamboo and a small number of other solid floors and is designed to be used for floating installations. It is beneficial for the Do-It-Yourself market.

Floor connection system: There are a wide range of connection systems, as most of them are mill-specific manufacturing techniques. The general principle is to have grooves on all four sides of the plank with a separate, unconnected, piece that is inserted into the grooves of two planks to join them. The piece used for the connection can be made from wood, rubber, or plastic. This installation system allows for different materials (i.e. wood and metal) to be installed together if they have the same connection system.

Type of your sub-floor!

Concrete sub-floor.

For installation of glue down hardwood products, the concrete itself should be allowed to cure a minimum of 60 days. Allowing longer periods is highly suggested. Applying of DPM prior installation of new hardwood flooring is always recommendable, ordinary concrete sealers should not be used when considering glue down type floors as they will interfere with the adhesive transfer. In recent years several hardwood floor adhesive manufacturers have introduced sealers used for this purpose.  You have to proceed with extra caution if you are installing solid hardwood flooring over concrete even with DPM. Checking humidity levels of the newly laid concrete sub floors is absolutely necessary. Sometimes laying of plywood over concrete is recommendable, either to increase the level of the floor, to level the sub-floor, or just for extra moisture protection.
Installing new engineered flooring as a floated floor on your existing concrete sub-floor, just over a moisture and damp proof underlay is also an option that you might like to consider.

Wood based sub-floor.

If you have existing floor boards, or plywood sub-floor means that you have a wood based sub-floor. Using a secret nailing as a fitting method should be your first option. Have in mind that some preparation works might be involved. Securing any lose floor boards, or replacing some of them in some cases is necessary in order to provide you with quality installation of your new hardwood flooring.
The orientation of the new hardwood floor boards should be across the orientation of the ones on your sub-floor. This will holds them better and will ensure you stable and secure fitting. If you want to your new floor to be laid on the same direction like your existing floor boards, installation of layer of plywood is necessary. Same thing is required if you chose to go with parquet or flooring panels which need to be fully bounded to the sub-floor.
As an alternative you have installation of you wood flooring as floated floor. Choosing this option also mean that some preparation work of your floor boards needs to be carried out prior fitting.
In addition is good to know that it is not recommendable your new hardwood flooring to be installed over the exposed timber joists!

Vinyl sub-floor.

Installing a hardwood flooring as a floated floor over vinyl or vinyl composition tiles (if the type of the chosen flooring allows it) is your only option. Of course your vinyl sub-floor needs to be levelled and in decent condition.

Tiles sub-floor.

Installing real wood flooring over existing tiles is not a problem, but the tiles need to be in good condition so it want cause any squeaking or moving of your newly installed floor boards afterwards. Otherwise same techniques as with in the concrete sub floors are available.


In general you have to bear in mind quite a lot of things before you lay down your new hardwood flooring. Otherwise our team of professionals is always ready to give you proper advice and complete your flooring job by making no compromise on quality, satisfying your expectations to the last single detail. Give us a call or send us a message from our contact us section and leave the professional job to the professionals.


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